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UK Satellite ISP Avonline and Avanti Sign Broadband Improvement Deal

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 (1:36 pm) - Score 1,535

Satellite operator Avanti has signed a new partnership deal with ISP Avonline that should result in the latter being able to introduce a range of new broadband services and a “promise” to give all Avanti-based customers a minimum average download speed of 9Mbps and an upgrade to a “fibre alternative” when it becomes accessible.

The details of the new deal are a bit vague and neither side has issued an official press release via their respective websites yet, which leaves us with only a very limited piece of coverage on Startups. The report indicates that most of the focus for this new deal will be on services for small and medium sized business customers (e.g. cloud services, emergency recovery and offsite backup), although home users will still see some benefits.

Some of the most interesting changes are thankfully mentioned on Avonline’s website, which lists a Speed Guarantee that promises to “deliver an average download speed to its combined Avanti customer base of 9Mbps measured on a rolling 30-day basis” (note: ‘combined’ not individual) and pledges not to apply “any heavy user traffic management policies or time-based data usage restrictions other than clearly stated contractual restrictions on P2P & similar file-sharing activities“. If the ISP fails to keep its side then customers will be allowed to terminate their contract.

In addition, there’s a very general Price Guarantee and most interestingly of all a Fibre Guarantee, which states that “if fibre does arrive at your home, let us know and we’ll confirm if you can switch to fibre with Avonline“. Customers who can get “fibre” will then be able to switch, provided they take Avonline’s own service. But the ISP doesn’t link to any of its own “fibre” packages or define what it actually means by the term (FTTC? FTTH? Cable? etc.).

Mark Wynn, MD of Avonline Broadband, said:

For many companies, inadequate broadband is a serious restriction in their ability to function and grow. The new packages we are introducing overcome that obstacle with a choice of services and data options delivered via satellite anywhere in the UK, no matter how remote.

No-one else in the UK can give such a specific service commitment and so many different options to businesses.”

It’s worth pointing out that Avonline also offers Eutelsat and Astra (SES) based services, although their home packages now appear to have been generalised and thus it’s unclear whether or not customers can still choose a service a non-Avanti platform. Similarly the home packages no longer display any service speeds, so we assume that the 9Mbps promise must apply to all.

The business packages appear to be hidden but home services cost from £19.95 inc. VAT per month with a tiny 5GB usage allowance. Meanwhile the hardware costs an extra £275 (or £5 per month extra if you’d rather do it that way) and there’s an optional professional installation requiring another £100 on top of that.

The more expensive packages also include unlimited overnight usage but you’ll be paying upwards of £59.95 per month for those.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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3 Responses
  1. It states “if fibre does arrive at your home”, which suggests to me that, unless the cabinet is at least in the garden, Fibre to the Cabinet is ruled out.

  2. Avatar DTMark

    I recall the State Aid guidelines favouring BT in such a way that wireless and satellite providers could not benefit from BDUK, because everyone other than BT was obligated to upgrade customers to fibre-optic connections at some point, with no such stipulation on BT who could simply supply VDSL with no promised future upgrade to fibre.

    I don’t recall the precise wording, though it occurs to me that perhaps it doesn’t mean that the provider (say a wireless provider) actually has to implement fibre. Rather, they could simply resell it. When BT provides it. Which will probably be never, to any degree of scale.

    However even if this is what’s trying to be exploited here, whilst wireless networks can manage it, satellite fails and will continue to fail minimum speed requirements – even 2 Meg is not guaranteed – and I’m not sure it ever could be.

    Hence the “weasel wording” of the “speed promise”.

    • Avatar gerarda

      The state aid guidelines are a classic example of why politicians should never get involved with technology as they clearly did not understand that wireless is now capable of speeds well above those that FTTC can achieve.

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